CAMBRIDGE — Election season may be coming to a close, but there’s plenty to vote on in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” which opens at Hubbard Hall Center for the Arts and Education this Friday.
The Tony-award winning musical is based on the mystery created and left unfinished by Charles Dickens.
It follows a troupe of actors performing the mystery in a much more lighthearted tone and the actors need input from the audience to move the production along. The production, which ran on Broadway for several years, has been adapted by creator Rupert Holmes, especially for the Hall.
In the spirit of the production, you, as a reader, have a choice. To read more about the Hubbard Hall adaptation, jump to paragraph two. To learn more about the origins of the show, go on to the next paragraph. For more on the atmosphere of the show read paragraph three. To skip to ticket information, jump to the end of the article.
1) Holmes wrote the musical in the 1980s, after reading Dickens’ book. “I was taken with how easily it could be musicalized . . . the big problem was there was no ending,” Holmes said. So he wrote the very first multiple-ending musical. “This is the one mystery that spoilers can’t ruin,” Holmes said. The audience members can decide who the detective will be, who the murderer will be and who the lovers will be. It was met with acclaim during its run on Broadway and has been adapted for several international stages since then.
To read about the Hubbard Hall production, go on to paragraph two. For more from Holmes, go to paragraph three. To skip to ticket information, jump to the end of the article.
2) The production that Hubbard Hall audiences will see is completely unique to the establishment. David Snider, the director of the Hall and director of the production, said. The production takes place in 1878, the same year the Hall was built. The place echoes the vaudeville era, which is perfect for the production, Snider said. Working with the Hall, Holmes has adapted the production and created a chamber version of it, with 11 principal actors and a small orchestra. It’s less than two hours long (the original was over three hours) and it’s got local flavor, as Holmes has woven in the names of nearby cities and establishments.
For more from Holmes about the production, read ahead. For the backstory of the production, read go to paragraph one. To skip to ticket information, go to the end of the article.
3) Although Dickens’ work tends to be bleak, Holmes’ production turns the “Edwin Drood” into a more comedic story and one with a message. Audience members tend to vote for the most ridiculous outcome, putting the actors in strange situations, Holmes said. “One of the great joys I have is not watching the show, but watching the audience. . . They become young no matter what their age,” Holmes said. Over the years, he’s watched many an audience become as animated as the performers, as they interact with the actors and with one another. “[People] come away having a reverence for life and appreciating every day,” Holmes said.
For ticket information, read ahead. To read more about the Hubbard Hall production, go to paragraph two. To read about the origins of the show, go to paragraph one.
'The Mystery of Edwin Drood'
WHEN: Friday, Nov. 17, to Sunday, Dec. 3
WHERE: Hubbard Hall Center for Arts and Education, 25E Main St., Cambridge
TICKETS: $20 for adults and $10 for students this Fri. and Sat., $30 for adults and $15 for students after Saturday
For more about the production, read any of the above paragraphs.